On Display Today: Paul Penzone’s Inexperience and Ineptitude

Penzone, Goddard and Camacho Miscalculate and Look Foolish

PHOENIX, AZ – Maricopa County Sheriff candidate Paul Penzone and two fellow Democrats had their hopes dashed today after prematurely calling a press conference to applaud the county Board of Supervisors’ decision to offer a massive settlement in a jailhouse death claim against Sheriff Arpaio.

Problem is, the Board refused to settle the claim today and instead sided with Sheriff Arpaio to go back to trial and fight the lawsuit.

“Penzone did today what many inexperienced politicians do. He came to an incorrect conclusion, jumped the gun, called a press conference and looked foolish in the process,” says Chad Willems, Arpaio’s campaign manager.

To save face, Penzone and his Democrat colleagues, former Phoenix mayor Terry Goddard and former TV reporter Frank Camacho, went on to level accusations against Arpaio and his office, again without the benefit of accurate knowledge and verifiable data.

The three Democrats told reporters the manner in which Arpaio runs the Sheriff’s Office costs taxpayers exorbitant amounts of money in legal fees.

But the data says something altogether different. The MCSO’s legal fee payouts are far less than the Phoenix Police Department and neighboring Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, which also operates a mega-jail system.

Since 1993, when Arpaio was first elected Sheriff, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has paid out a total of $45 million dollars in lawsuits from vehicle accidents to inmate claims. In that same time period, Phoenix Police Department, which does NOT have a jail system with 8500 inmates, has paid over $74 million dollars in legal fees. And in just the last ten (10) years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has paid out a whopping $274 million dollars in legal fees alone.*

“Sheriff Arpaio is an excellent manager and a responsible steward of the taxpayers’ money,” said Willems. “He runs the third largest jail system in the nation yet continues to come in under budget nearly every year and has returned $40 million to the taxpayers in the last ten years alone. Penzone is either totally ignorant of these facts or is once again deliberately misleading the public.”

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*The LASO is the nation’s largest Sheriff’s Office, followed by (2) Cook County Chicago and (3) the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Phoenix.


  1. This is creative writing at it’s finest.

    First of all, the total that tax payers have paid out of pocket in lawsuit settlements as of May 2011 was about $43 million. That piece of information is somewhat correct. It does not include the more than $50 million spent on legal bills as of May 2011, and that number is growing rapidly. The taxpayers have funded more than $2.2 million in legal fees to defend the County and the Sheriff in the Braillard lawsuit, and the Atencio family just filed a notice of claim for $15 million against the County (and $5 million against Phoenix PD.) I don’t even want to guess what the tab is on Melendres v Arpaio so far. I would not be surprised to see that $50 million turn into $70 million with what is already on the defense table.

    Comparing Maricopa County to Los Angeles County is like comapring grapes to pineapples. Los Angeles County has a population of nearly 10 million people. Maricopa County has less than 4 million people. A more suitable comparison would be Harris County, Texas, with about 4.1 million people. Houston and Phoenix are similar in size and population density. In the years since Arpaio took office, there have been some 6,300 lawsuits against the County charging misdeeds by the Sheriff’s office. In that same period of time, 285 lawsuits were filed against Harris County.

    Given the fact that both Maricopa County and Harris County are Republican leaning counties in border states with a population mix of whites being a slight majority and Hispanic / Latino running a near second, and both having a personality that suggests cattle ranches, cowboy boots, guns and big hats, what’s up with that huge difference in lawsuits against a sheriff?

    “Penzone did today what many inexperienced politicians do. He came to an incorrect conclusion, jumped the gun, called a press conference and looked foolish in the process,” says Chad Willems, Arpaio’s campaign manager.” Ummmm – ok, Chad. If that makes you feel good. Explain, if you can, why an EXPERIENCED POLITICIAN like Arpaio would have called a press conference and announced that the Department of Justice was taking over the RICO case when in fact, they did not, and sent Arpaio a scathing letter the very next day admonishing him for the content of the presser. Talk about looking FOOLISH! Joe has that down to a science. Especially on the witness stand. Or don’t you “recall”?

    Chad, why didn’t you mention that Arpaio bragged to the New York Times that he is on television an average of 200 times per month? Come on, we all KNOW what Arpaio is good at and what he lives for. He loves to ham it up for the microphone and the camera. Except debates. For some reason (I don’t know why) he did not want to be on television to debate his opponent. Oh, that’s right. He doesn’t come off sounding too smart when he’s not reading from a script that was provided to him by his handlers.

    Lastly, Wilson and Kunasek had both said earlier that they were going to approve the settlement. Something made them change their minds at the last minute. I would be willing to guess that something was pressure from the GOP leaders to not vote to approve the settlement right before the election because that would not look good for our good ol’ boy, the Tin Star Shurf of Maricopa County.

    Everyone I know, even my staunchest Republican friends, have voted for Penzone. Grant Woods voted for Penzone. Several news sites are reporting that long-standing, well-known GOPers who wish at this time to remain nameless have acknowledged that they can no longer tolerate Arpaio’s nonsense and have voted for Penzone.

    I am not saying that Penzone is a shoe-in and that Arpaio will be history on Tuesday for sure, although I have high hopes. I am saying that Arpaio is losing more ground every day, and if he is elected again, it will be by the skin of his teeth and because of ignorant hard party-liners who refuse to open their eyes and see what a disaster Arpaio has made of the MCSO.

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